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When it comes to understanding the process of software development, there’s a lot to learn.

Beginners will need to understand not only the basics of computer science, but how elements and components of computer science are used to build software products. They also need to know about some of the dedicated progress made in treating the entire software development life cycle — for instance, agile development principles and devops. (For more on the software development life cycle, check out Diving Into Dev: The Software Development Life Cycle.)

With that in mind, here are six critical aspects of software development that students can easily get involved in through available Coursera courses.

Python for Everybody

Python is a unique programming language that has widely been hailed as a best-practice tool for anything from machine learning to cutting-edge web development.

As a user-friendly language with extensive support libraries, third-party modules, open-source background and attractive syntax, Python is one of the most popular coding languages in today’s IT industry, and Python skills are a major addition to a resume. Check out “Python for Everybody” here to get started learning this important cornerstone of modern coding.

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Data Engineering on Google Cloud Platform

With the emergence of the cloud, the Google Cloud Platform has become a central theater for building software.

In a course dedicated to data engineering on Google Cloud, students can learn about designing data processing systems on the platform, as well as using unstructured data and tools like Spark to create machine learning processes. Insights and machine learning setups also apply in this overview of data science in the Google environment. Take a look and assess this introduction into the nuts and bolts of proprietary data design. (To learn more about data science, see 6 Key Data Science Concepts You Can Master Through Online Learning.)

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Introduction to TensorFlow for Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning

As an open source library for today’s IT world, TensorFlow was originally developed at Google, but released under an Apache open source license. It has since become a general purpose tool for machine learning and the application of neural networks.

In a Coursera class option titled “Introduction to TensorFlow,” students learn about best practices and get hands-on experience training a neural network.

Take a look at how this course treats computer vision, and other items like convolutional neural networks in its effort to provide a survey of utility tasks boosted by the TensorFlow resource.

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Java Programming and Software Engineering Fundamentals

In some senses, this Java class is a bit more old-school than some of the ones described above.

Java became a popular programming tool long before the evolution of Python and TensorFlow and these other tools, in addition to new algorithm-based machine learning technologies.

In the earlier days, Java was seen as a prime example of object-oriented programming that was applied to all sorts of web development and software projects. While Java reigned in the era of the out-of-the-box license, it is still important today, and new courses will directly apply Java to one of its most prominent contemporary uses: the creation and design of applications for iPhone and Android.

Java in its various forms still constitutes one of the popular choices for developing a codebase and as such, a course that takes beginners through designing algorithms, testing debugging and more is immensely valuable, not only as a general skill builder, but as a deeper look into current practices.

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Functional Programming in Scala

Like Java, Scala is an object-oriented programming language. However, while Java was pioneered in 1991, Scala appeared on the scene about a decade later. Originally seen as a programming language that utilized the design of Petri nets, Scala utilizes functionality like lazy evaluation and pattern matching to support algorithms.

In a course called “Functional Programming and Scala Specialization,” students look at general code design and get hands-on practice in functional programming. Coursework involves taking a bottom-up approach to solving small problems and using smaller chunks to create larger functional codebase structures.

Again, data analysis with Apache Spark is a fundamental focus. Students will learn about recursion, immutable data structures, and more.

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Blockchain

Along with those twin giants machine learning and artificial intelligence, one of the biggest IT buzzwords we’ve heard in recent years is “blockchain.”

Blockchain technology is a unique application created for “fintech” or the world of financial technology. It’s essentially a decentralized consensus-based system for verifying financial transactions. Blockchain is perhaps best known for being the underlying technology behind cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin — but blockchain can also be applied to many other different types of data systems that are not financial in nature. As a general purpose tracking technology, blockchain is being built into industrial systems and enterprise technologies and is a hot part of the engineer’s world.

This course from Coursera will go over the history of blockchain while also delivering specialized knowledge that will be valuable in tomorrow’s high-tech work world.

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Consider any of these six course offerings for refining skill sets and growing experience in computer science as well as data science principles and applications.

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